Charming as a Prince

by - December 19, 2019

Hi there!

I will give you the name of a country and you can tell me which is the first city that comes to mind…

The country is…

Portugal!!!

Before you continue reading leave a comment of the first city that popped into your head (or you could do it at the end if you like).

Photo by Emily Morter

We arrived in Porto in February and it was relatively warm. This was great for us because we didn't need to wear bulky clothing. We needed to add extra layers but that was only for one day of our adventure which was quite surprising as it was supposed to be winter. What was also surprising was that Porto is situated in the North of Portugal and generally, the North of a city tends to be much colder than the South. Oh well, who are we to be complaining, we got pretty lucky with the weather and that made our trip all the more enjoyable.

We stayed in the more modern part of the town in a hostel called Pilot Design Hostel and Bar.
Some of the benefits of hostels include price, the opportunity to meet new people and location (they are generally in proximity of the main attractions and things that you may need) among others things.  That is what we signed up for and that is exactly what we got plus a clean and tidy environment.

We decided to travel cheaper and smarter so we took the bus into Porto. Our hostel was a few minutes away on foot so I do not exaggerate when I say that we got there quickly.

(Oh, the joys of budget accommodation and their great location).


boats sailing under bridge
Photo by Nick Karvounis
The charm of Porto was among other things its prices. In comparison to other European countries the prices were more affordable. It was probably more affordable than Athens. Even more, you could easily access a range of restaurants, supermarkets and shops in the main square.

(Oh, the joys of mainstream European countries and their great convenience).

The supermarkets were quite cheap and always withing walking distance.

Do you know in some cities where you struggle to find a tourism office? That was not the case in Porto as it was located right next to the bus station. If you needed to have some information or just to grab a free map, you could do it there.

The maps that we took were extremely detailed and precise and did I mention, easy to use. Well, that was until I figured out that I wasn't the best at map reading and we essentially strayed off course but no worries, the locals were quite friendly and if you are like me and can't find your way when you are there, they will help you out like they did for us. Easy Peasy...

You should add a walking tour to the list of things to do in Porto. We unfortunately in the spirit of vacation missed th opportunity to join a group and take part in such an activity so we decided to do some exploring on our own which sadly did not include the history of the things and places that we saw but the internet is amazing, don't you agree?

We walked around a lot but guess what?

We took a tram!

yellow tram on street

If you want to go from the New City to the Old City, a tram is a better option than attempting to walk there. The contrast between these two cities was nothing less than a shock. Needless to say, we were simply a few minutes away but nothing was the same, except maybe... the people.

The Old City was as charming as a prince from a Disney movie.

frog prince statue

Pardon my sense of humour. Porto is the Disney Prince after transformation, not before, when he was a slimy frog. The beauty is in the transformation of the city from older to more modern.

There were many things to do and to see there including free samples and who doesn't like free things right?

We especially enjoyed seeing plenty graffiti in every "nook and cranny". This gave life and character to the city. It was vibrant just like its nightlife. You are guaranteed to have loads of fun dancing the night away.

On the other hand, if you are looking for bars and places to 'chill', the more modern part of the city was more equipped with places to fulfill your desires. All you needed to do was take a coach (free of charge) from the Old City to the New City and POOF, you entered into a new dimension of modernity in comparison to the Old City.

If you were feeling more adventurous, you could walk across the bridge into the New city but we were not prepared to take that journey and risk having a burning sensation in the soles of our feet a few days later. (We still has some more cities to visit so being BURNT OUT and IN PAIN was not at all ideal.)

bridge with beautiful sunset
Photo by Everaldo Coelho

Another free product of this city was the sunset. Like in Santorini, the sunset over the horizon could leave you in awe. It was amazing to see from a hilltop overlooking the vast ocean.

There were so many things to do and see there that leaving seemed like the hardest thing to do but we had to. Of course, that was not before we watched the street performers serenade the lovers and us, the tourists.

This charming city will leave you feeling 'love-struck', we sure were.

Don't forget to leave your comment of the first city that popped into your head on mentioning "Portugal" if you haven't yet done so.

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